Military Law

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Backload

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Re: Military Law

Postby Backload » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone gone from biglaw or clerkship --> JAG? I considered JAG in law school but thought the biglaw money/prestige was something I should at lest take a shot at. I also got clerkship (state supreme court) for my second year out of school in case I disliked biglaw and wanted to hit the reset button. Not surprisingly, I don't think biglaw is for me long-term. My situation isn't bad but I think I'd rather do something with better hours and more variety than corp lit.

Don't really have specific questions right now--just trying to get a general sense of how JAGs look at former biglawyers/clerks. I think I have a genuine, fairly convincing narrative for wanting to join. I'm most interested in AF and Navy, in case that makes a difference.


I have met some Jags who did big/pretty big law. They were able to show that the military was right for them and had good litigation experience. It is really the same things they are looking for.

I have not met any clerks but there are probably some out there. If you are good with saying why military why this service then you should be good.

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Patrick Bateman

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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone gone from biglaw or clerkship --> JAG? I considered JAG in law school but thought the biglaw money/prestige was something I should at lest take a shot at. I also got clerkship (state supreme court) for my second year out of school in case I disliked biglaw and wanted to hit the reset button. Not surprisingly, I don't think biglaw is for me long-term. My situation isn't bad but I think I'd rather do something with better hours and more variety than corp lit.

Don't really have specific questions right now--just trying to get a general sense of how JAGs look at former biglawyers/clerks. I think I have a genuine, fairly convincing narrative for wanting to join. I'm most interested in AF and Navy, in case that makes a difference.


I have run into a few folks that clerked prior to active duty. For a variety of reasons, most JAGs have not clerked but that is primarily due to how the accessions process works, not because there is any prejudice against clerks. All other factors being equal, I would view it as strong plus in an applicant's file but I have no idea if that is a view shared by senior leadership.

I can think of a few folks that did private practice prior to AD but I don't know any that were in true BigLaw. Much like the clerkships, I think that is far more a matter of correlation versus causation however. I think Backload pretty much nailed it in his/her post - if you have a strong application package and can address the "why" questions well, you should be as competitive as anyone else.

This is a bit of Bateman Philosophy 101 on resumes/interviewing but I am always in favor of framing your background through the paradigm of strength versus weakness - how can you sell BigLaw (or clerkship, or whatever) as a positive thing that sets you apart from other candidates? What training/experiences/etc have you gained that makes you an ever greater asset to the JAGC? The fact that it is different or atypical should be embraced, spun, and sold versus shunned.

It's the same advice I give folks that are leaving active duty and figuring out where they can go as a civilian. JAGs have somewhat unusual/diverse backgrounds due to our variety of assignments - do you hide from that or lean into it?

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:52 am

USMC Hopeful wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone gone from biglaw or clerkship --> JAG? I considered JAG in law school but thought the biglaw money/prestige was something I should at lest take a shot at. I also got clerkship (state supreme court) for my second year out of school in case I disliked biglaw and wanted to hit the reset button. Not surprisingly, I don't think biglaw is for me long-term. My situation isn't bad but I think I'd rather do something with better hours and more variety than corp lit.

Don't really have specific questions right now--just trying to get a general sense of how JAGs look at former biglawyers/clerks. I think I have a genuine, fairly convincing narrative for wanting to join. I'm most interested in AF and Navy, in case that makes a difference.


I'm hoping to go from biglaw to Marines at the upcoming June board, will let you know the outcome.


From what I've heard from multiple people (USMC JA recruiters included) is that the biggest factor for the Marine Corps JA's is an applicant's PFT scores. I'm sure the clerkship will be fine, but if you can do a ton of pull-ups you'll look better. Just my $0.02.

USMC Hopeful

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Re: Military Law

Postby USMC Hopeful » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
USMC Hopeful wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone gone from biglaw or clerkship --> JAG? I considered JAG in law school but thought the biglaw money/prestige was something I should at lest take a shot at. I also got clerkship (state supreme court) for my second year out of school in case I disliked biglaw and wanted to hit the reset button. Not surprisingly, I don't think biglaw is for me long-term. My situation isn't bad but I think I'd rather do something with better hours and more variety than corp lit.

Don't really have specific questions right now--just trying to get a general sense of how JAGs look at former biglawyers/clerks. I think I have a genuine, fairly convincing narrative for wanting to join. I'm most interested in AF and Navy, in case that makes a difference.


I'm hoping to go from biglaw to Marines at the upcoming June board, will let you know the outcome.


From what I've heard from multiple people (USMC JA recruiters included) is that the biggest factor for the Marine Corps JA's is an applicant's PFT scores. I'm sure the clerkship will be fine, but if you can do a ton of pull-ups you'll look better. Just my $0.02.


Yes, PFT is most important, and higher PFT can make up for other things in an application. I'll be at 285+ for the Board, but I have an atypical application. I'll post results and description, people might be interested.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:46 am

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. And good luck USMC Hopeful.

I’ll have to do some reading up on the application timeframes for attorneys—I’m concerned that it may be later than biglaw hiring, which would mean risking the chance of no JAG or biglaw and scrambling to find something else.

annon1234

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Re: Military Law

Postby annon1234 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:31 pm

Patrick Bateman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone gone from biglaw or clerkship --> JAG? I considered JAG in law school but thought the biglaw money/prestige was something I should at lest take a shot at. I also got clerkship (state supreme court) for my second year out of school in case I disliked biglaw and wanted to hit the reset button. Not surprisingly, I don't think biglaw is for me long-term. My situation isn't bad but I think I'd rather do something with better hours and more variety than corp lit.

Don't really have specific questions right now--just trying to get a general sense of how JAGs look at former biglawyers/clerks. I think I have a genuine, fairly convincing narrative for wanting to join. I'm most interested in AF and Navy, in case that makes a difference.


I have run into a few folks that clerked prior to active duty. For a variety of reasons, most JAGs have not clerked but that is primarily due to how the accessions process works, not because there is any prejudice against clerks. All other factors being equal, I would view it as strong plus in an applicant's file but I have no idea if that is a view shared by senior leadership.

I can think of a few folks that did private practice prior to AD but I don't know any that were in true BigLaw. Much like the clerkships, I think that is far more a matter of correlation versus causation however. I think Backload pretty much nailed it in his/her post - if you have a strong application package and can address the "why" questions well, you should be as competitive as anyone else.

This is a bit of Bateman Philosophy 101 on resumes/interviewing but I am always in favor of framing your background through the paradigm of strength versus weakness - how can you sell BigLaw (or clerkship, or whatever) as a positive thing that sets you apart from other candidates? What training/experiences/etc have you gained that makes you an ever greater asset to the JAGC? The fact that it is different or atypical should be embraced, spun, and sold versus shunned.

It's the same advice I give folks that are leaving active duty and figuring out where they can go as a civilian. JAGs have somewhat unusual/diverse backgrounds due to our variety of assignments - do you hide from that or lean into it?


I would think that Biglaw or a clerkship would be very impressive for JAG as they seem to want people who have a lot litigation and oral advocacy experience (who are not from the traditional military background-ROTC, JAG internships, military etc.). I know of a lot of JAGs who have years of traditional legal experience (firms and government) and some have also clerked. I don't know if that's because recently it's been more competitive? I mean on top of that they want you to be in shape so it's very holistic.

I also know JAGs who went to government (a lot of people at DOJ), and went to big firms (one is even a partner). That's including those who stayed in JAG and continued to rise in the ranks. It seems to be what you make of it and how you manage your career in general as a lawyer.

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Patrick Bateman

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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:03 pm

annon1234 wrote:I would think that Biglaw or a clerkship would be very impressive for JAG as they seem to want people who have a lot litigation and oral advocacy experience


Not to quibble but I feel it is relevant to the discussion:

I would disagree with a premise in which being a BigLaw associate brings litigation/oral advocacy experience. Having been in a branch of DOJ which was a BigLaw revolving door, I found the opposite is true - the BigLaw lateral applicants were generally extremely smart and well credentialed, very good at things like doc review and legal writing, but woefully lacking in any advocacy experience.

That is why I phrased my response to the OP the way I did - there is a legitimate argument that BigLaw skills do not really translate to JAG skills given the vastly different nature of the respective practices. I obviously do not agree with painting with such a broad brush, as some of the skills can translate, but in most cases it is a far easier sell for your average Assistant DA than your average Vault 100 associate. Just my two cents.

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howell

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:11 pm

Yes, the challenge for a clerk/biglaw refugee is fully checking the "trial/litigation experience" box. DAP applicants are put in two piles - those who are still in law school and those who are out of law school. Trial experience is HUGE for those in the latter pile. You'll be in a pile with ADAs, PDs, etc., who get trial experience nearly every week. What can you say/do to demonstrate that you would be a better criminal trial attorney than these people? There are certainly ways to answer the mail on this, and it has been done, but I think this would be the biggest hurdle. Second hurdle would be doing well in the interview to make sure the SJA doesn't think you're a Sheldon Cooper who can't relate to human beings.

These are the things I believe the board would be focused on and do not necessarily reflect my own views of what is more or less important.

annon1234

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Re: Military Law

Postby annon1234 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:12 am

Patrick Bateman wrote:
annon1234 wrote:I would think that Biglaw or a clerkship would be very impressive for JAG as they seem to want people who have a lot litigation and oral advocacy experience


Not to quibble but I feel it is relevant to the discussion:

I would disagree with a premise in which being a BigLaw associate brings litigation/oral advocacy experience. Having been in a branch of DOJ which was a BigLaw revolving door, I found the opposite is true - the BigLaw lateral applicants were generally extremely smart and well credentialed, very good at things like doc review and legal writing, but woefully lacking in any advocacy experience.

That is why I phrased my response to the OP the way I did - there is a legitimate argument that BigLaw skills do not really translate to JAG skills given the vastly different nature of the respective practices. I obviously do not agree with painting with such a broad brush, as some of the skills can translate, but in most cases it is a far easier sell for your average Assistant DA than your average Vault 100 associate. Just my two cents.


I stand corrected regarding big law or government that they have litigation/oral advocacy experience because they rarely get to litigate/go through a full trial.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:25 am

Any AF ROTC OYCP/GLP folks going to field training this summer?

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone gone from biglaw or clerkship --> JAG? I considered JAG in law school but thought the biglaw money/prestige was something I should at lest take a shot at. I also got clerkship (state supreme court) for my second year out of school in case I disliked biglaw and wanted to hit the reset button. Not surprisingly, I don't think biglaw is for me long-term. My situation isn't bad but I think I'd rather do something with better hours and more variety than corp lit.

Don't really have specific questions right now--just trying to get a general sense of how JAGs look at former biglawyers/clerks. I think I have a genuine, fairly convincing narrative for wanting to join. I'm most interested in AF and Navy, in case that makes a difference.


Just saw this and thought I should respond. Have both biglaw and clerkship and was accepted DA both AF and Navy. Just apply. If you have other things on your resume that show you are a good fit the biglaw and clerkship experience can really only help.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:20 pm

I was selected for OYCP and am going to FT next week I’m not too concerned about the ROTC aspect of it, but do have a few questions in general.

First, I know I can’t go on active duty until I pass the bar and am sworn into said bar. But how long do I have to wait? Am I able to report to my first duty station right away (October/November)? Or do I have to wait until there’s a JASOC class (around February I believe)?

Second, if I do have to wait until Feb to go on AD, I will need to find employment to hold me over (I have a family and will need a source of income). Should I be attempting to get a legal job? If I do attempt to get a job, should I disclose that I’ll be leaving for the military early on, or wait until 2-3 weeks prior?

Any input will be helpful. Considering I’m a 3L, if I’m going to apply for legal jobs I probably need to get started working on that now (or as soon as I get back from FT).

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Re: Military Law

Postby Backload » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was selected for OYCP and am going to FT next week I’m not too concerned about the ROTC aspect of it, but do have a few questions in general.

First, I know I can’t go on active duty until I pass the bar and am sworn into said bar. But how long do I have to wait? Am I able to report to my first duty station right away (October/November)? Or do I have to wait until there’s a JASOC class (around February I believe)?

Second, if I do have to wait until Feb to go on AD, I will need to find employment to hold me over (I have a family and will need a source of income). Should I be attempting to get a legal job? If I do attempt to get a job, should I disclose that I’ll be leaving for the military early on, or wait until 2-3 weeks prior?

Any input will be helpful. Considering I’m a 3L, if I’m going to apply for legal jobs I probably need to get started working on that now (or as soon as I get back from FT).


You can go to the duty station first. After you have sworn into your states bar. So it depends how long until the results come out. It wouldn’t be feb unless New York bar.

You will still be waiting a few months after taking the bar so it just depends on your situation. It would be a good time to travel but you may want to get a job. I got a job before entering but a non legal job for fun and for cash.

Labrador911

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Re: Military Law

Postby Labrador911 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:18 pm

Has any AFJAG DA selectees heard any follow up information about MEPS yet? Still waiting for an update...

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Re: Military Law

Postby lharle » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:56 pm

Labrador911 wrote:Has any AFJAG DA selectees heard any follow up information about MEPS yet? Still waiting for an update...



Same here, it's been quiet since selection in November, except for the e-mail to submit transcripts upon graduation.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:13 pm

Hello:
I am a rising 3L (just finished up my 2L year) and I am really interested in knowing my odds of getting into JAG Corps through a direct appointment to the USAF. I have a bottom of the barrel GPA, but **I think** other parts of my application are workable.

Here is a rundown of what I am looking at academically:

2.25 GPA (likely to go up, but the maximum I can realistically pull is a 3.0 GPA)
Pro Bono society (lots of hours put in)
Vice President of law school student organization
Chair for annual school fundraising event
Negotiations team
Hospice volunteer (what can I say, I like volunteer work)
Excellent working relationship with professors and deans
Clerked my 1L and 2L years at different firms (mid to small firms)
Certificate in Business and Transactional Law

Other information:
Passes the medical/physical requirements
No history of drugs or alcohol
No arrests, convictions, etc.

It likely isn't relevant, but my family also has a history of service. My grandpa was a military doctor in WWII, my dad was a military police officer in Vietnam, and my brother is a lieutenant colonel in the AF.


So, if there is anyone out there with some insight, an educated opinion, or just some thoughts they want to throw out, please respond.

lharle

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Re: Military Law

Postby lharle » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hello:
I am a rising 3L (just finished up my 2L year) and I am really interested in knowing my odds of getting into JAG Corps through a direct appointment to the USAF. I have a bottom of the barrel GPA, but **I think** other parts of my application are workable.

Here is a rundown of what I am looking at academically:

2.25 GPA (likely to go up, but the maximum I can realistically pull is a 3.0 GPA)
Pro Bono society (lots of hours put in)
Vice President of law school student organization
Chair for annual school fundraising event
Negotiations team
Hospice volunteer (what can I say, I like volunteer work)
Excellent working relationship with professors and deans
Clerked my 1L and 2L years at different firms (mid to small firms)
Certificate in Business and Transactional Law

Other information:
Passes the medical/physical requirements
No history of drugs or alcohol
No arrests, convictions, etc.

It likely isn't relevant, but my family also has a history of service. My grandpa was a military doctor in WWII, my dad was a military police officer in Vietnam, and my brother is a lieutenant colonel in the AF.


So, if there is anyone out there with some insight, an educated opinion, or just some thoughts they want to throw out, please respond.


I hate it to break it to you, but I don't see it happening for you right now.

I am just another recent grad/selectee, but I've been following the forum for a few years, but I have read of many people with better resumes getting turned down.

1) I think the selection Board will have a hard time accepting any applicant with a GPA less than 3.0, no matter how strong the rest of the resume is.
2) Negotiations experience is good, but mock trial and/or moot court is likely looked upon more favorably.
3) Your volunteer work is probably the best thing you have going for you right now.
4) Clerking with local firms is good experience, especially if your work took you to a courtroom often, but an externship or internship with the Air Force, another branch, DA, public defender, or USAO would be preferred.
5) I do not think family history is given any weight.

If USAF-JAGC is your dream, my advice would be to pick up the GPA, join other advocacy programs, find post-grad employment in an office that would give you trial work ASAP, and apply after a few years in that office.

Again, I'm just a guy, but those are my educated thoughts.

Backload

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Re: Military Law

Postby Backload » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:30 pm

lharle wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hello:
I am a rising 3L (just finished up my 2L year) and I am really interested in knowing my odds of getting into JAG Corps through a direct appointment to the USAF. I have a bottom of the barrel GPA, but **I think** other parts of my application are workable.

Here is a rundown of what I am looking at academically:

2.25 GPA (likely to go up, but the maximum I can realistically pull is a 3.0 GPA)
Pro Bono society (lots of hours put in)
Vice President of law school student organization
Chair for annual school fundraising event
Negotiations team
Hospice volunteer (what can I say, I like volunteer work)
Excellent working relationship with professors and deans
Clerked my 1L and 2L years at different firms (mid to small firms)
Certificate in Business and Transactional Law

Other information:
Passes the medical/physical requirements
No history of drugs or alcohol
No arrests, convictions, etc.

It likely isn't relevant, but my family also has a history of service. My grandpa was a military doctor in WWII, my dad was a military police officer in Vietnam, and my brother is a lieutenant colonel in the AF.


So, if there is anyone out there with some insight, an educated opinion, or just some thoughts they want to throw out, please respond.


I hate it to break it to you, but I don't see it happening for you right now.

I am just another recent grad/selectee, but I've been following the forum for a few years, but I have read of many people with better resumes getting turned down.

1) I think the selection Board will have a hard time accepting any applicant with a GPA less than 3.0, no matter how strong the rest of the resume is.
2) Negotiations experience is good, but mock trial and/or moot court is likely looked upon more favorably.
3) Your volunteer work is probably the best thing you have going for you right now.
4) Clerking with local firms is good experience, especially if your work took you to a courtroom often, but an externship or internship with the Air Force, another branch, DA, public defender, or USAO would be preferred.
5) I do not think family history is given any weight.

If USAF-JAGC is your dream, my advice would be to pick up the GPA, join other advocacy programs, find post-grad employment in an office that would give you trial work ASAP, and apply after a few years in that office.

Again, I'm just a guy, but those are my educated thoughts.


I would agree with this. Your main hurdle is going to be the lack of advocacy. The GPA is extremely low as well.

I would say family history would help you in the sense of why the military.

Give it a shot and apply. It’s not a one time thing and it’s looked more favorably the more you apply.

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howell

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:25 pm

Just a note that some of the AF DAP board dates are changing. They'll be in September and November this fall instead of October and December. The September apps need to be in by 10 Aug.

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Patrick Bateman

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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hello:
I am a rising 3L (just finished up my 2L year) and I am really interested in knowing my odds of getting into JAG Corps through a direct appointment to the USAF. I have a bottom of the barrel GPA, but **I think** other parts of my application are workable.

Here is a rundown of what I am looking at academically:

2.25 GPA (likely to go up, but the maximum I can realistically pull is a 3.0 GPA)
Pro Bono society (lots of hours put in)
Vice President of law school student organization
Chair for annual school fundraising event
Negotiations team
Hospice volunteer (what can I say, I like volunteer work)
Excellent working relationship with professors and deans
Clerked my 1L and 2L years at different firms (mid to small firms)
Certificate in Business and Transactional Law

Other information:
Passes the medical/physical requirements
No history of drugs or alcohol
No arrests, convictions, etc.

It likely isn't relevant, but my family also has a history of service. My grandpa was a military doctor in WWII, my dad was a military police officer in Vietnam, and my brother is a lieutenant colonel in the AF.


So, if there is anyone out there with some insight, an educated opinion, or just some thoughts they want to throw out, please respond.


I think the two previous posters nailed it overall.

I agree with Backload that the family history can add a valuable personal connection for your "why" questions in the interview and your personal statement. I also agree with the advice to apply regardless. Worst they can tell you is no.

This may not be the case but your write up makes me question if you are so involved with volunteer work that your GPA is suffering. If that is the case, you need shift your priorities. Public service is important for a JAG applicant but even Living Saint status is not going to be sufficient on its own.

Also be ready to address the GPA in your interview - you need to be ready to discuss why it is low, without making excuses, and what you are doing to bring it up.

annon1234

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Re: Military Law

Postby annon1234 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hello:
I am a rising 3L (just finished up my 2L year) and I am really interested in knowing my odds of getting into JAG Corps through a direct appointment to the USAF. I have a bottom of the barrel GPA, but **I think** other parts of my application are workable.

Here is a rundown of what I am looking at academically:

2.25 GPA (likely to go up, but the maximum I can realistically pull is a 3.0 GPA)
Pro Bono society (lots of hours put in)
Vice President of law school student organization
Chair for annual school fundraising event
Negotiations team
Hospice volunteer (what can I say, I like volunteer work)
Excellent working relationship with professors and deans
Clerked my 1L and 2L years at different firms (mid to small firms)
Certificate in Business and Transactional Law

Other information:
Passes the medical/physical requirements
No history of drugs or alcohol
No arrests, convictions, etc.

It likely isn't relevant, but my family also has a history of service. My grandpa was a military doctor in WWII, my dad was a military police officer in Vietnam, and my brother is a lieutenant colonel in the AF.


So, if there is anyone out there with some insight, an educated opinion, or just some thoughts they want to throw out, please respond.


I had above a 3.0 gpa at a top 10 law school. However, I've been practicing for a while and I can tell you that after a while no one cares what your GPA is or what school you went to once you have experience. Met a variety of lawyers with C gpas that went on to have stellar careers; and I've met lawyers who went to top law schools with a 4.0 who were not good attorneys. So even though I agree with everyone and say yes you should work to pull it up to a 3.0, a gpa is not some barrier to success in the long-term as an attorney.

I would def say bring up grades like everyone said, but also focus on litigation (mock/moot, clerkships, pro bono advocacy). If you can take a military, national security or international law classes that would be helpful. Also if you write and publish an article or opinion piece on a national security/military law topic in legal journal or magazine that would help and you have access to do that through your school. Have you every worked in the government? I would emphasize commitment to public service.

Your VP position and hospice volunteering are signs of leadership too. Shows ability to command, but also ability to work with others which are things the military looks at. I would also talk about your physical fitness regime, if you participated in any activities like races, sports etc. Talk about your families military history too and why you want to be a serve. You need to emphasize the skills that you do have (that the military specifically looks at) instead of what you don't have.

ak7ja

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Re: Military Law

Postby ak7ja » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:16 am

annon1234 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hello:
I am a rising 3L (just finished up my 2L year) and I am really interested in knowing my odds of getting into JAG Corps through a direct appointment to the USAF. I have a bottom of the barrel GPA, but **I think** other parts of my application are workable.

Here is a rundown of what I am looking at academically:

2.25 GPA (likely to go up, but the maximum I can realistically pull is a 3.0 GPA)
Pro Bono society (lots of hours put in)
Vice President of law school student organization
Chair for annual school fundraising event
Negotiations team
Hospice volunteer (what can I say, I like volunteer work)
Excellent working relationship with professors and deans
Clerked my 1L and 2L years at different firms (mid to small firms)
Certificate in Business and Transactional Law

Other information:
Passes the medical/physical requirements
No history of drugs or alcohol
No arrests, convictions, etc.

It likely isn't relevant, but my family also has a history of service. My grandpa was a military doctor in WWII, my dad was a military police officer in Vietnam, and my brother is a lieutenant colonel in the AF.


So, if there is anyone out there with some insight, an educated opinion, or just some thoughts they want to throw out, please respond.


I had above a 3.0 gpa at a top 10 law school. However, I've been practicing for a while and I can tell you that after a while no one cares what your GPA is or what school you went to once you have experience. Met a variety of lawyers with C gpas that went on to have stellar careers; and I've met lawyers who went to top law schools with a 4.0 who were not good attorneys. So even though I agree with everyone and say yes you should work to pull it up to a 3.0, a gpa is not some barrier to success in the long-term as an attorney.

I would def say bring up grades like everyone said, but also focus on litigation (mock/moot, clerkships, pro bono advocacy). If you can take a military, national security or international law classes that would be helpful. Also if you write and publish an article or opinion piece on a national security/military law topic in legal journal or magazine that would help and you have access to do that through your school. Have you every worked in the government? I would emphasize commitment to public service.

Your VP position and hospice volunteering are signs of leadership too. Shows ability to command, but also ability to work with others which are things the military looks at. I would also talk about your physical fitness regime, if you participated in any activities like races, sports etc. Talk about your families military history too and why you want to be a serve. You need to emphasize the skills that you do have (that the military specifically looks at) instead of what you don't have.



I don't think anyone said that b/c he has a low GPA that he can't have a successful career as a lawyer...but being accepted into the JAG Corps of any branch is extremely competitive and most successful applicants have all of OP's stats + higher GPAs + relevant internships in some form of "public service" office (JAG internship, DA, USAO, public defender, etc.). While GPA certainly isn't determinative of future success in the long term, a better GPA will (and should) open up competitive opportunities post-law school.

I think one of the most important qualities that can help overcome blemishes on an application is a demonstrated interest in being a JAG (or even in public service). It's super easy to say as a 3L or a licensed attorney that you've always been interested in being a JAG, or that it's always been your dream job, etc...but what the folks reviewing applications want to see is not just an applicant's "interest" but how they've shown their dedication to that pursuit...building that can take a long time. Maybe knowing nothing about the JAG corps and then being introduced to it late in your law school career truly did inspire an applicant to apply, but when there are hundreds of applicants for a couple dozen spots, the boards are going to be more drawn to the folks that have tailored their law school and professional experience to that one objective.

annon1234

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Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:33 pm

Re: Military Law

Postby annon1234 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 am

ak7ja wrote:
annon1234 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hello:
I am a rising 3L (just finished up my 2L year) and I am really interested in knowing my odds of getting into JAG Corps through a direct appointment to the USAF. I have a bottom of the barrel GPA, but **I think** other parts of my application are workable.

Here is a rundown of what I am looking at academically:

2.25 GPA (likely to go up, but the maximum I can realistically pull is a 3.0 GPA)
Pro Bono society (lots of hours put in)
Vice President of law school student organization
Chair for annual school fundraising event
Negotiations team
Hospice volunteer (what can I say, I like volunteer work)
Excellent working relationship with professors and deans
Clerked my 1L and 2L years at different firms (mid to small firms)
Certificate in Business and Transactional Law

Other information:
Passes the medical/physical requirements
No history of drugs or alcohol
No arrests, convictions, etc.

It likely isn't relevant, but my family also has a history of service. My grandpa was a military doctor in WWII, my dad was a military police officer in Vietnam, and my brother is a lieutenant colonel in the AF.


So, if there is anyone out there with some insight, an educated opinion, or just some thoughts they want to throw out, please respond.


I had above a 3.0 gpa at a top 10 law school. However, I've been practicing for a while and I can tell you that after a while no one cares what your GPA is or what school you went to once you have experience. Met a variety of lawyers with C gpas that went on to have stellar careers; and I've met lawyers who went to top law schools with a 4.0 who were not good attorneys. So even though I agree with everyone and say yes you should work to pull it up to a 3.0, a gpa is not some barrier to success in the long-term as an attorney.

I would def say bring up grades like everyone said, but also focus on litigation (mock/moot, clerkships, pro bono advocacy). If you can take a military, national security or international law classes that would be helpful. Also if you write and publish an article or opinion piece on a national security/military law topic in legal journal or magazine that would help and you have access to do that through your school. Have you every worked in the government? I would emphasize commitment to public service.

Your VP position and hospice volunteering are signs of leadership too. Shows ability to command, but also ability to work with others which are things the military looks at. I would also talk about your physical fitness regime, if you participated in any activities like races, sports etc. Talk about your families military history too and why you want to be a serve. You need to emphasize the skills that you do have (that the military specifically looks at) instead of what you don't have.



I don't think anyone said that b/c he has a low GPA that he can't have a successful career as a lawyer...but being accepted into the JAG Corps of any branch is extremely competitive and most successful applicants have all of OP's stats + higher GPAs + relevant internships in some form of "public service" office (JAG internship, DA, USAO, public defender, etc.). While GPA certainly isn't determinative of future success in the long term, a better GPA will (and should) open up competitive opportunities post-law school.

I think one of the most important qualities that can help overcome blemishes on an application is a demonstrated interest in being a JAG (or even in public service). It's super easy to say as a 3L or a licensed attorney that you've always been interested in being a JAG, or that it's always been your dream job, etc...but what the folks reviewing applications want to see is not just an applicant's "interest" but how they've shown their dedication to that pursuit...building that can take a long time. Maybe knowing nothing about the JAG corps and then being introduced to it late in your law school career truly did inspire an applicant to apply, but when there are hundreds of applicants for a couple dozen spots, the boards are going to be more drawn to the folks that have tailored their law school and professional experience to that one objective.


Yep. I don't think any of us are in disagreement, though. I just wanted to give this person information on how to have a stronger application and explain to them to emphasize what they bring to the table if they are truly interested in becoming a military lawyer. That was my approach. With any career path you choose you should actually be passionate about it.

I also completely agree with you that it is very competitive to get into JAG in any branch and a lot of applicants have been turned down several times.

USMC Hopeful

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Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Military Law

Postby USMC Hopeful » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:32 pm

I spoke with my OSO last week, and it looks like the Marine Board is going to be in mid-July. Hit 287 at the PFT that same day, and contracted as well, so feeling pumped. Maxed out on everything but run.

Also, just so people know that getting yourself in shape is really possible even with a busy schedule: I failed both crunches and pull-ups at my first PFT last November. Improvement can come fast when you're dedicated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327247
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:23 pm

Current JA looking for an AUSA position. Anyone with any experience, either firsthand or otherwise? Any advice for me? I've landed a couple of interviews, surprisingly. Any interview advice specific to JAs?



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